God had foreseen.

I can see gender inequality really upsets Ryan. Actually social injustices upset him. He was horrified to hear stories about caste system when we started reading Mahabharat. Sahana recently worked on a project on female feticide in India. During her research for her assignment she shared a lot of unpleasant yet true information about injustice done to a girl child. Ryan was a silent listener. But her words and facts made an impact on his young mind. And I see his brain whirring to find a ‘why’!

Since a very early age, he has been a champion for women/girls. Derogatory comments about girls by his male peers were deflected with ‘Girls are great!’ And my favorite, the irrefutable logic  – ‘Your mom is a girl. She is not dumb, she is wonderful!’

I believe he has such respect for girls because he is growing up with his sister – a strong willed, intelligent, funny girl who puts him in his place, pins him down in wrestling matches, shouts at him when she is mad, helps him with his homework, stands up for him in playgrounds, cooks him food in his parents’ absence and laughs hysterically with him while watching funny Youtube videos. He looks up to her for her smarts, her knowledge about authors, movies, current bands, completely inane and unnecessary yet very fun facts. I have heard him say to friends, ‘My sister told me this. She is very smart. She is in high school.’

Hence, he does not understand why women would be considered inferior or unwanted. Whether he admits it or not, his sister is his hero! I think the gender inequality makes him angry because in some oblique way, it is a statement against his hero – his sister!

While doing math homework, he put his pencil down and looked me in the eye.

‘I just thought of something. I know why only women can have babies and not men!’

I wondered if we are sliding into uncharted territories.

“God had foreseen that men would eventually tell women they are inferior, not equal and be cruel to them. So God gave a superpower to women. He gave only them the power to have babies. So when men say ‘you don’t have power’, the women can say ‘oh yeah? Well, you go and have babies then!’ ”

I have said before his religiosity is very innocent and beautiful. He wants a world where everyone would acknowledge everyone else’s idea of God and live peacefully forever.

In God’s world there should be no inequality. God is the ultimate parent who thought of everything before sending the living beings to earth.

His logic may not be foolproof but his thoughts are so sweet that I do not go into deep theological discourses. He will, one day, think things through. I simply write down these bits and pieces of conversations, which are of no value to anybody, but me. I have learnt one thing from all the meaningful conversations I have had with both my children – simple, honest truth is just that, simple and honest.



Become an angry young man.

I believe one of the most rewarding aspects of parenthood is observing the slow emergence of the questioning, thinking mind of a child. It is a delight to see your child becoming socially conscious, questioning the wrongs that s/he sees around him/her, asking you for your thoughts on it and trying to figure out the chaos in his or her minds in his or her way. Questions, innumerable questions are hurled at us at all times. We try to answer to the best of our ability and resort to internet when we run out of answers. I personally try to convert each question about social equality or justice into a teaching moment by leading their thoughts in a certain direction and allowing them to persist and think it through.

While changing bed linen the other day, such a teaching moment arose when my younger child, Ryan followed me to the room asked a very pertinent question.

“Mom, do you get very, very angry when you read about all the bad stuff that happened to women in the past, that you read in history books? I feel bad for women that they had to suffer but I am a man and I don’t feel as angry as you or Sahana about it!

Every time I hear about violence done against women, my belief about teaching our sons to respect women (and men) gets reaffirmed. We are equally responsible as the law and order system in the world to bring about the change in the mindset of men and women regarding the equality of all. And we can do that by teaching our sons to respect women and teaching our daughters that they are not inferior to any because of their gender.

So I took Ryan’s question as a teaching moment to teach and reinforce fairness and equality.

I told him, “Think of the injustice done to the women throughout the ages as injustice done to humans. Don’t think of them as women. Think of them as a part of human race who were not given equal rights. They had to fight for their rights, they were ridiculed, violated, oppressed yet they continued their fight and continue to do so to this day. You get angry when you read about how the whites treated blacks, how the homosexuals are treated in the world still, right? It is the same with women. They were not treated equally and that should make you angry even if you are a man. And use the anger to help women fight for equality which is their right.”

He listened silently and walked out of the room. I knew I had planted a seed. I just hope the seed grows into a tree and bears fruit and the world receives a young man who gets angry at any form of injustice and uses that anger as a fuel to right the wrongs done.

Questions! I love them….most of the time!

I don’t have all the answers to their questions. But I felt good about this answer and I write it and store this away in my treasure chest as a good mommy moment.


The spectacular now